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UPS Game-Changing Moments: Michigan

June 09, 2013, Staff report,

Moments that changed the course of the race in the Irish Hills

Greg Biffle feels right at home at Michigan International Speedway.

He took the lead for good on a late restart and ran away from the field in the closing laps to win Sunday's Quicken Loans 400. The No. 16 Ford driver won his second straight race here and the 19th of his career. Four of those victories have come at MIS.


"It's definitely a special day," Biffle said after delivering Ford Motor Co. its 1,000th victory in NASCAR's three national touring series. "Just super-excited for Ford and sure excited to be No. 1,000."

The win secured Biffle a berth in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and moved him up a spot to eighth in the standings.

Second a week ago at Pocono, Biffle led the pack to the restart on lap 173 and outran Martin Truex Jr. to stay out front. He led a race-best 48 laps.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Jimmie Johnson, with four fresh tires, was gaining on Biffle’s two in the final laps but a cut right front tire took him off the track with two laps to go.

Johnson took second a few laps before his misfortune, and Kevin Harvick backed out of the throttle to hold on to at least a third-place finish.

Biffle still was impressed with Johnson, whom he finished second to a week ago at Pocono.

"The guy was 10 (on the restart) and was catching me with 10 to go," Biffle said. "That's a fast race car.

"We beat the 48 today and that says a lot. He was really, really fast."

Johnson ended the day 28th to wrap up a tough day for Hendrick Motorsports. None of the racing giant's four entries cracked the top 25.

Kurt Busch swept Saturday’s practice sessions, started second and was running fourth when he brought out the yellow flag in the 28th lap with a spin and mild contact with the outside retaining wall.

The No. 78 driver had inched up nine places in the points standings over the last eight races, but Sunday’s 35th-place finish -- seven laps down -- pushed him from 15th to 20th in points, increasing his urgency to secure a win for his wild-card hopes.

“The car just broke loose,” said Busch. “We had a really fast car all weekend and it’s a shame that we didn’t capitalize on what we had. The driver feels the hurt, the same way the crew and the entire organization does. But these things happen and all we can do is put this behind us and get ready with the same intensity for next weekend’s race.”'s Zack Albert and the NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this report.